Australia - The four amigos

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Benji13, Apr 23, 2020.

  1. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Really sorry third eye for the lack of posting, cos I was busy rolling the GS in the mud over the weekend. Just in case the 2nd wave of China virus hits NSW again soon and we are back into the full lockdown mode.
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  2. third eye

    third eye back road loon Supporter

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    no worries, get dirty while you can
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  3. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 1 -23 Nov 2018 Friday - 569km

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    Tassie is 240km (150 miles) south of the mainland across the Bass Strait. The only ferry is from Port Melbourne to Devonport for 446km. There are two of the iconic red-white Spirit of Tasmania ferries, I and II. One trip each day each way during the slow season and two trips during the peak season. Apparently they were made in Finland. I look forward to one day I ride there and trip the many many ferry crossings in that part of the world.

    Decades ago, we had ferries from Sydney to Hobart and they ultimately failed.

    For us Sydneysiders it was always essential to make our transit ride to Melbourne interesting. And people watching on the way was always amazing.

    Like one of several crashed trailers. On the right of the photo below. Hope the family towing it was OK.
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    And a surprisingly colourful road sign. We still disliked road work speed limit and jam.
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    And a Japanese overlander with his ricksaw. Going uphill and needed a push. His pushbike mate was checking for any rearending risk.
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    Some recreationalists (including some jokers of course). Is that a word?
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    If in doubt, turn left.
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    When we reached Goulburn's Big Merino, we could see the dark cloud.
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    When it rained, it poured.
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  4. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Let me fast forward a bit and share with you the beautiful Cradle Mountain in Tassie.
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  5. third eye

    third eye back road loon Supporter

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    right, then
  6. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 1 continued

    Then we sped in the rain on our familiar playground Monaro Highway to Cooma where Doc and I compared notes on the rain coats' waterproofness. One day, I shall be able to afford GoreTex Pro.
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    Enough BS and back in the pouring rain towards Bombala.
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    The Monaro Highway was still pleasant and easy in the rain except that my visor and glasses started to fog up. Naturally I missed the Welcome to Victoria border sign. The rest of the run followed the Cann River down its valley. Much of the road was well surveyed and quiet compared to the boring Humes Freeway between Sydney and Melbourne.
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    More photo on Day 1. Colourful burrito truck escorted by Doc and the triple black. Wonderful sight.
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    That night we stayed at the Cann River Hop Inn Motel. Popular amongst truckies. The rooms were fine. No bodies found (just kidding. Bad joke. I know).
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    Cann River Hotel was just next door. A few pints and an expensive steak for dinner there. Publicans were doing well. Charged a lot and did not put much back into the building. It looked exactly the same after 80 years.
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    That night. I could hear trucks passing. It must be romantic to drive a huge B-Double truck in the dark , I imagined.
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  7. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    El Salvadoran in Van Diemen’s Land, neato!
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  8. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 2 - 491km

    We woke up to dark clouds and were guaranteed another rain gear day. They were waterproof but 100% unbreathable. So your sweat condensed inside making it wet anyway and somewhat aromatic. Time to start a Benji Foundation and crowdfund for goretex pro.

    The nice thing at the Cann River truck stop was you could smell coffee before sunrise from a few cafés already open and ready to serve. Hooray!

    Today was meant to be an easy ride to the ferry pier. We could chill out right?

    Saw some Snowy Mountain brumbies. Very rare in day light. Perhaps the recent bushfires had forced them to come out and be more visible in the wild. Suddenly I sensed some black cats powers around. I was generally not superstitious though I used to wear the same lucky Y front playing soccer matches.
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    We took a new and small road detour from Nowa Nowa to Bairnsdale via Bruthen instead of Lakes Entrance. Of course, there would be road work there. OK we stayed cool and sat it out.
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    After a light lunch at Bairnsdale, we found the nice logging track roads going west from Noojee to Yarra Junction through some thick forest.

    Bad luck struck Sir as he found a flat rear with a nail when we reached Yarra Junction. I knew it.
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    We pulled the nail out, plugged it and electric pumped it up. We the mighty GS riders handled it quite well. The problem was that we had a ferry to catch, and all the tyre shops had closed by now in the late Saturday afternoon. Well Sir had to live with an unpatched rear for the rest of the trip. Why it was always him?!

    For the dear Aussie riders' information, Sir called the National Motorcycle Alliance roadside assistance for help to find an opened bike shop but they were not of much help. Not judging. Just be aware that they may not be as flexible or resourceful in some circumstances.

    We carefully rode then to the Station Pier at the waterfront of Port Melbourne. The boarding was 7pm. Plenty of time. Departure was 9pm. We were like excited little kids waiting for the ferry to dock and chat with all the travelling 2-wheeled passengers there.

    Was the pink limousine bringing Katy Perry to sing on the ferry for us?
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    Time to board!!
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    When I rode up the tall ramp into the back of the ferry, it was a very joyful feeling. Like witnessing the birth of my first son.

    Once inside the car deck, I politely waited for the crew to tie down my mighty GS. No. DIY. One of them just pointed to the lashing hanged on the wall. Since when they trusted a yellow man to tie down a big adventure bike himself and ultimately not failed. Well he was right and we did not shame ourselves in the process. I parked away from Sir. Not intentionally.
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    That night, we had many beers and pizza for dinner. Doc wanted to go to the cinema to watch a lady gaga movie. I had a flu so they let me use one of the two cabins. And I slept early. Thanks buddies!
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  9. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 3 - 231km

    The morning call came into the cabin just before 6am. The crew made sure you drove out of the ferry when it docked at 7am at Devonport. Time to get down for a coffee on the deck and see the sunrise at the small port. Everything was calm when the ferry sailed slowly into the rather narrow Mersey River.
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    The river bed was rather shallow and needed continued dredging.
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    Again the sensation of starting the engines in the car deck was intense followed by a majestic ride out on to the Tassie road even though the pier was not big. Love it.

    The morning ride started with a Banjo's Bakery Cafe visit in Devonport. Yummy.
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    The four amigos could not and would not hide the joy of coming to the bikers' paradise, including Russ even if he was with us in a colour print.
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    This was the first day in Tassie and we had many places to see. First we took a short ride to Latrobe famous for platypus.
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    If you don't know what creature it is, google it. In short, it looks like a duck but different from kangaroo and emu we do not eat it.
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    Next we continued south to Railton and saw lots of topiary outside people's houses. The tassies probably enjoyed great work life balance.
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    Further south we went into the hills of Sheffield and Paradise.

    Coffee break in Sheffield and telling the admirers on the main street how wonderful the BMWs' were.
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    When I planned the route, I did not know the Old Paradise Road was all dirt uphill. Honestly. Sorry to the GSA's for getting mud on their shiny skins.
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    Different from our 5 weeks lap the year before, Tassie is like Ireland. Many things and quiet roads to enjoy in short distance. Next we arrived at Mole Creek to find the Tasmanian Tiger. Unfortunately we came too late. They were hunted to extinction 80 years ago. Just like the aboriginals in Tassie. Don't argue that it was not true. Go and learn some history and let us make sure shits do not repeat itself in future.
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  10. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 3 continued.

    The clouds did not go away but it did not dampen our mood. We enjoyed stopping frequently everywhere in Tassie. Not like doing 300km and did not see anything during the lap.

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    Next we reached the King Solomon Cave. The young caretaker said we would have to wait for some time for the next tour. The amigos agreed unanimously to skip the cave tour. And keep riding.
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    The roads were so good. They beat the caves. We enjoyed the perfectly surveyed corners around the Mount Roland.
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    And the "Town of Murals" at Gowrie Park.
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    I had booked the Cradle Mountain Hotel for that night. Some we kept going through the twisty roads.
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  11. Suncoaster

    Suncoaster Long timer Supporter

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    Looks like a great trip !
    I agree, those corners around Mt Roland/Cethana/Wilmot/Paradise are fabulous.
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  12. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Thanks mate! BTW if you know how Paradise got its name, please let everybody knows. Til now I still have no clue. Hehehe!
  13. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Yes, Day 3 continued

    After a fun ride to Paradise on C137, C138 and C136 basically around Mount Roland (We have similar road categories to the UK: Freeway, Highway, A road, B road, C road. However any of these could be unsealed if you go to ulu places), we rode back down to Sheffield.

    When I rode to Sheffield in England to see my friends in the mid 80's, I would never connect Sheffield and Paradise in one sentence. Life is funny.

    OK, the amigos like Mount Roland and the roads below it a lot.
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    We quickly ran via Barrington to Forth because the highlight of today was the C132 Cradle Mountain Road. This was a great motorcycle road of 90km all the way to the Cradle Mountain. First a short and enjoyable ride up along the River Forth over the small road to Wilmot. Then further south alongside Lake Barrington to Erriba. I guessed many bikers on the ferry came here once they disembarked in the morning. Now they had left the mountain road empty for us to enjoy. Luckily not many tour buses yet as it was before the X'mas vacation season.

    The Cradle Mountain Hotel was fabulous.
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    No it was late Spring and there was no snow when we were there. However the above photo demonstrated what it would be like in the deep winter.

    Our plan was to go to the Dove Lake to enjoy the amazing Cradle Mountain. And the boat shed on the lakeside was one of the most photographed tourist spot in Tassie.
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    However there was a problem. The road to Dove Lake was narrow and restricted to national park bus only. We were supposed to take the NP bus there like the other homo sapiens. No way for the three amigos. We wanted to ride there and take photos of the GS's. So I used my charm to sweet talk to the young receptionist at the hotel. She fell for it and whispered that the boom gate would be unlocked after the last bus got out of the park. So we hid the big bikes behind some trees. 5pm came. The last bus got out and the boom closed. The place became quiet. A few minutes later, we could hear a small electrical/mechanical glitch sound. It's unlocked! A few moments later the boom gate arm rose and the three bikes successfully went in. Ok we did not have much time before sunset. So we rode to the lake ASAP.
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    And the compulsory boat shed photo. Done.
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    And the group photo.
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  14. third eye

    third eye back road loon Supporter

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    poaching a gated road, awesome
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  15. Suncoaster

    Suncoaster Long timer Supporter

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    According to https://www.placenames.tas.gov.au/ :

    Reuben Austin, J H Dawson, and others, were walking across a piece of ground up on George Morse's property on the foothills of Mount Roland. It was a hot, clear day and they sat down to rest beneath some giant manferns, whose long fronds formed a fringed canopy from beneath which they viewed the picturesque mountain. It glistened in the sun. Its great craggy rock face seemed so close that you could reach out and touch it with your hand. Reuben Austin remarked,
    "This is Paradise." The name stuck (Extract from page 16 of God Was their rock by Alan F Dyer, copy in Kentish correspondence).
    Evidently also known as Reuben Austin's Paradise.
    page 148 of Life and Labours of G W Walker (1833).
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  16. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Wow thanks mate for the contribution to this RR! Really appreciate it. I bet this lad Reuben was not one of the convicts stuck on a ship for 5 months and exiled for life to Port Arthur.
  17. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 4 - 322km

    Tassie used to be connected with the mainland but when the sea level rose 10,000 years ago, all hell broke loose. All the greens came out of their caves screaming and yelling (just kidding).

    Following the same school of thoughts, it was the Dutchman this time Abel Tasman who first found Tassie in 1642 and named it Van Diemen's Land, after the Governor of the Dutch East Indies Company. And it was renamed Tasmania in 1856 by the Brits.

    The Englishmen first came here in around 1770's. Probably when the Brits lost the American Independence War, they were glad to send the convicts this way instead. Apparently some re-offenders on the mainlands also got transferred here for its harshness. That consolidated Tassie's reputation as a penal colony.

    I was still nursing a flu. So Sir rode back to the Dove Lake for a longer hike before breakfast to test his new ankle. Well done sir for the photos.
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    The afternoon before, the three amigos walked around Dove Lake for the shorter hike. I was wearing my runners. The sole was not sturdy enough. Since then, I had bought hiking shoes from Columbia and carry them on bike trips instead.

    After breakfast we enjoyed riding the wonderful A10 Murchison Highway north to Somerset, particularly the part near Hellyer Gorge where we blasted through the corners dropping into the rainforest-clad valley of the Hellyer River. Hell-yeah!
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  18. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 4 continued

    Once on the Bass Highway going west, it became familiar sight with traffic on a open dual carriage way. Luckily before we were bored, we stopped soon at the Table Cape Lighthouse for a look.
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    Next we went to Boat Harbour Beach for light lunch at the beach house. Very relaxing. It was a Monday and there were only a few young people there.
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    In the afternoon we continued west to visit the Nut at Stanley. The nut is a sheer-sided bluff - all that remains of an ancient volcanic plug.
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    We went for the lift chair. Doc was in front of me.
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    The view from the track on top of the Nut was fantastic. You can see the mighty GS's in the centre of the car park below. Almost could also see the King Island which probably was a bit too far away across the Bass Strait.
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    We even did some shopping in the small but nice souvenir shop.
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  19. Benji13

    Benji13 Been here awhile

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    Day 4 continued.
    After we gone NUT, we went to THE EDGE OF THE WORLD for tonight. Amazing names the Tassies used.

    We continued on the Bass Highway to the Northwest corner of the big island. When we passed the turnoff for Smithton, the traffic became fast disappearing. The road surface was still smooth. We passed the quite pleasant Dismal Swamp. Still could get fuel at Marrawah. It reminded me of the north coast 500 of Scotland. Windy, running dark clouds, bent long grass, people wearing thick sweater.

    Yes I had booked a big house next to the ocean in Arthur River. I heard about this place many years ago but none of my buddies had been there before. It was that remote. When we were there, we saw a few houses but did not see any people. Even the landlord did not appear. He gave me the safety box pin for the key.

    If Madam Ghislaine Maxwell had hidden out here instead of in a grand estate in New Hampshire, they would have never found her. Jeffrey was smarter when he just "died".

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    The tricky part was there was no RSL, restaurant, café, Domino pizza, kebab, Chinese chop suey, Thai takeaway, Indian tandoori, or even 7-11. Zilch, zip, nada! The only place was the tiny general store near the Arthur River Bridge and it closed at 6pm. I even called the friendly lady there to beg her to wait for us. That was essential for the survival of the amigos.

    We dropped the bags at the house and rushed to the store.
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    We got take away fish and chips and burger for dinner and happily enjoyed the backyard view of the southern ocean.

    The store was on the other side of the Arthur River Bridge. One lane, two directions.
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    The amigos dining on the backyard with a 179 degree view of the Ocean.
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    If you swim straight out from here, you might found the MH370.
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    After the seafood fine dining, we walked on the rugged coast to the Edge of the World. There is no land between here and Argentina, making it the longest uninterrupted expanse of ocean on earth. Also made Arthur River one of the loneliest little places I have been to.

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  20. Mark.F

    Mark.F Been here awhile

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    Thanks for posting this RR.I'm planning on doing a lap of Oz over 2 or 3 months late 2021 or early 2022 , & at the moment I'm doing the basic planning. There's someone from Perth,Mongrel dog, who posts some great off road rides on YT riding a BMW GS but I'm not sure I'd survive some of the rides he posts!
    The weather on your Tazzy tour looks more like what we have here,Lancashire so I reckon my wet weather set up should work...
    Once again thanks for posting.
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